'Tua is our starter,' Dolphins general manager says of quarterback position

While Tagovailoa will be clear No. 1 in 2021, future less certain for Fitzpatrick
Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa thumbs up to teammate in January 2021
Posted at 6:53 PM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 18:53:37-05

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins have a starting quarterback headed into the 2021 season -- and he's already on the roster.

Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said Tuesday that Tua Tagovailoa is the team's starting quarterback.

"He did a nice job this year coming in as a rookie with no offseason and the challenges of dealing with all that," Grier told reporters during an end-of-season news conference. "Very happy with him and looking forward to watching him progress here over the next -- with an offseason here -- going into next year."

Despite a blowout loss at Buffalo last weekend that cost them a playoff berth, both Grier and head coach Brian Flores said they're content with Tagovailoa.

But that doesn't mean the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft won't face competition in the offseason.

Grier said every position will be evaluated in 2021, including quarterback.

"It makes everyone great," he said.

But, make no mistake, Grier added.

"I also want to be clear that Tua is our starter and we're very happy with his development so far," Grier said.

Tagovailoa took over as starter in place of veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick midway through the season and helped the Dolphins compete in the playoff race until the final week of the regular season.

Ryan Fitzpatrick celebrates with Miami Dolphins during win vs. New York Jets in 2020
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick celebrates a touchdown with Adam Shaheen during the second half of a game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J.

Miami won six of nine games with Tagovailoa as the starter, but he was benched in the penultimate game at Las Vegas as Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins to a 26-25 victory.

Tagovailoa threw three interceptions, including a pick six, Sunday as Miami lost to the Bills 56-26.

Although Tagovailoa appears to be the franchise of the future, the backup position seems less certain.

Flores was noncommittal about Fitzpatrick's future in Miami.

"Again, we've got to go through a full process, a full evaluation," Flores said. "Like I just said, we'll evaluate offense, defense, special teams and then we'll create a vision of what we want our team to look like in 2021. You don't do that one day or two days after the season. Chris and I both, we talk about this extensively, we don't think that's the best way to make decisions. We're not going to rush anything. We're going to take our time with it. … We've got to go through it and be as thorough as possible and try to make the best decisions for this organization."